Overhead shot of bowl of black bean chili with cocoa powder topped with jalapeno polenta squares, cabbage slaw, chopped cilantro and avocado cubes

Black bean chili with cocoa powder

  • Author: Denise
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Easy black bean chili with cocoa (cacao) powder with a flavorful combination of savory, spicy and chocolate topped with polenta squares and quick slaw.



Black bean chili with cocoa powder

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini (courgette), diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa (cacao) powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. anise or fennel
  • 215 oz. (400 gm.) cans tomatoes (if you use whole tomatoes, dice them before adding them to the chili)
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 215 oz. (400 gm.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained (about 3 cups)

Quick cabbage slaw

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (use a combination of white, red or whatever you choose)
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro (coriander)
  • 2 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice

Jalapeno polenta squares

  • 1/2 cup polenta or cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp. salt (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. diced pickled jalapenos (adjust according to taste). You can also use ½ fresh jalapeno, diced


Black bean chili with cocoa powder

  1. Heat a medium soup pot over medium heat and add the diced onion, zucchini (courgette) and red pepper. Saute by until the onions start to soften and some of the moisture from the zucchini has dissipated. About 6 minutes.
  2. Add the minced garlic, 2 tsp. chili powder, 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika, 2 tsp. ground cumin, 1 Tbsp. oregano, 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1 tsp. ground anise or fennel. Stir for about 30 seconds to cook the garlic and mix in the spices.
  3. Add the tomatoes, 2 tsp. maple syrup and 2 cups vegetable broth. Use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes if necessary. Cover and simmer the tomatoes and broth for 15 minutes to allow the chili to thicken.
  4. Taste and adjust the spices as needed.
  5. Mix in the black beans and simmer the chili on low for an additional 10 minutes or until you are ready to serve.
  6. To make the quick cabbage slaw, simply mix together the cabbage, red onion, chopped cilantro and lime juice.
  7. Serve the chili with the slaw, jalapeno polenta squares, diced avocado, diced red onion or even crumbled tortilla chips.

Jalapeno polenta squares

  1. Line a small baking dish (about 9 x 11 in.) with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together the polenta, water, cumin, nutritional yeast, diced jalapenos and salt (if using). Stirring almost continuously, bring the mixture to a boil and then to a simmer. Cook the polenta for about 15 minutes until it is thick and sticky.
  3. Transfer the polenta to the baking dish and spread it so that it is evenly distributed. Press it into the dish so it can set up while the oven heats.
  4. Preheat your oven to 450°F (2300 C).
  5. Once the oven it hot, bake the polenta for about 10 minutes, then, remove the baking dish and transfer the polenta with the parchment paper to a bigger baking tray. Carefully cut the polenta into bite-sized squares.
  6. Sparate the squares out a bit so the sides can brown and then place the tray back in the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes until it is browned, tossing the squares over to avoid burning.


  • The cooking time includes making the jalapeno polenta squares. If you don’t make them, then the cooking time is about 30 minutes.
  • Nutritional information includes the quick slaw and polenta squares only.
  • You can make the polenta ahead of time and keep it in the baking dish in the fridge for several days before you bake it. If you cool it in the fridge, you can just cut it and bake it on the baking tray as it will hold together once cooled for several hours.
  • Category: Soups & Stews
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: black bean chili with cocoa powder

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